Sunday, May 31, 2009

Music Meme: 1993

Continuing my list of favorite albums from every year I've been alive.


Tears for Fears: Elemental

Now that's much more like it. After the misery of 1992, I fully expected to see it followed by another few years of bottom-of-the-barrel scraping, but there were some mighty fine albums in '93. The Cranberries were a refreshing delight when they debuted and I discovered Chris Isaak that year. My favorite Sting album was released, and though it took me a while to warm up to it, I ended up liking U2's Zooropa a lot.

My favorite though is also my favorite Tears for Fear album. Curt Smith's leaving the band (or however that went down) didn't affect my enjoyment of the music. It was always Roland Orzabal's voice that drew me to the band and that's on terrific display here. It's also the most rocking of their albums.

Runners Up:
The Cranberries: Everybody Else is Doing It, So Why Can't We?
Chris Isaak: San Francisco Days
Sting: Ten Summoner's Tales
U2: Zooropa

Collective Soul: "Shine"
Crash Test Dummies: "God Shuffled His Feet"
Celine Dion: "The Power of Love"*
Inner Circle: "Bad Boys"
James: "Laid"
Denis Leary: "Asshole"
The Proclaimers: "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"**
Adam Sandler: "The Thanksgiving Song"

*And there goes my entire readership.

**Technically, this was a 1988 release, but I (and most of the rest of the country) didn't discover it until 1993 thanks to Benny and Joon.

Friday, May 29, 2009

C'mon, Easy -- the party's in here!

Today is my birthday, so no blogging for me. Gonna go see a pirate play with my wife tonight at the Jungle Theater.

See you tomorrow!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Adventureblog Gallery: The Puppies of DOOM!

Your 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Picture of the Day

By Alphonse de Neuville.


By Paul Orban.

Mufindi's Tale

By Katie Shanahan.

Your Marvel Classics Comics Cover of the Day

By Gil Kane.

Kitty Hawk in the Ruins of Old Seattle

The Kitty Hawk web comic is starting a new chapter and the cover for it looks very promising. Not that it hasn't already been a great read up to this point.

Super-Villain Rehab

By "PandaFace" (found at The Kirby Project).


By Jeremy Vanhoozer. (Lots more robots at DrawerGeeks.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Adventureblog Gallery: Grrr!

How the Yellow Cog Crossed the Bar of Gironde

By NC Wyeth.

Your 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Picture of the Day

By Alphonse de Neuville.

Your Marvel Classics Comics Cover of the Day

By Gil Kane. Incidentally, it was shortly after watching Food of the Gods recently that I discovered this cover and decided I needed to share some of these.

Mars Attacks

Golden Age Comic Book Stories has posted the entire set of Topps' 1962 Mars Attacks cards featuring both giant monsters and giant robots. This is my first time seeing them and I have to say, I'm a little pissed at Tim Burton right now.

Grrr Face

By Jeremy Vanhoozer (found via DrawerGeeks).

Magic City

By Hubert Rogers.

Quack Quack Quack A-Doodley-Doo

The 9 Goofiest Pirates

Leave it to Topless Robot.

They're right to call these the "goofiest" pirates and not the "lamest" or something else derogatory. Though there's no doubt that GI Joe's Zanzibar is lame, Captain Feathersword is nothing less than Completely Awesome.

Personal Subs!

My oh my, look what Brother Calvin has discovered. I now have a way to launch strikes from my floating sea colony.

Robot 13

Not just a younger generation of Robot 6, Thomas Hall and Daniel Bradford's robot-with-a-human-skull vs. giant-cephalopod comic sounds amazing. Robot 6 Head Honcho JK Parkin interviewed Hall this weekend and I'll be reviewing the book soon. Cannot. Wait.

Remember the time the Enterprise went to the bottom of the ocean and got attacked by a submarine with a freeze ray?

Man, they had the wrong guys writing Star Trek back in the day. I'm hoping this is the plot of the next JJ Abrams movie.

Jungle Girls and Dinosaurs

Camilla, Jungle Queen

Hey, mister. That's not a very nice thing to call her.

The Fortress Keeper has a new jungle girl story up.

Primeval movie?

Warner Brothers has apparently secured the movie rights for Primeval. I'm not sure how to feel about this.

My son actually got me hooked on the show after discovering it on YouTube. We watched the first two seasons on Netflix and got caught up just in time to start the third season on BBC America. I should do a longer Primeval post at some point, but for now I'll just say that it's a great show. I don't like every single part of it (the villain isn't nearly as threatening as she ought to be), but most of cast is excellent, the overarcing story is compelling, and of course there are dinosaurs and other monstrosities to fight each week.

Beyond the usual nervousness about replacing actors I already love with ones I might not so much, I'm trying to figure out how they can possible squeeze the entire show (or even a single season's worth) into two hours. I suppose one season's meta-story could fit into a feature film if you cut out a bunch of the weekly monsters. That would leave room for sequels to cover the arcs from subsequent seasons. It could work...

Robot Monster News

The Apocalipstix

This week's Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs column is a review of a comic about a post-apocalyptic girl-band that fights mutants and giant ants. It could be the most perfect comic I've read this year.

Monsters vs. Aliens: the TV series?

Well, there's a pilot coming anyway. I must be living right.

The Top 85 Robot Movies

The Only Good Movies Blog has a list of the Top Robot Movies of All Time. They're listed in categories (Scary Robot Movies, Funny Robot Movies, Bad Robot Movies, etc), which is a far more useful system than a subjective quality ranking, though they seem to be ranked by quality within each category. Maybe. That's never really explained.

My big gripe about the list has to do with the descriptions of each film not always saying anything about the robots in them. The entry for The Day the Earth Stood Still, for example, says nothing about Gort, and none of the four Star Wars entries mention droids at all.

Still, it's an interesting list and I've now got lots of new films to add to my Netflix queue.

Random complaining

This has nothing to do with anything, but you wouldn't believe the number of emails I still get from people claiming to read Comic World News - a site that stopped updating a year-and-a-half ago and has a very obvious "we're done now; nothing more to see here" message on its front page - asking me to help promote them. These aren't people looking for Robot 6 coverage, they're using a CWN email address and specifically mentioning that site.

Just had to share that with someone.

The Cownt: Jessica Hickman

I sort of let my Cownt art sharing fall by the wayside. Need to get back on top of that, so here's Jess Hickman's initial concept sketches for how her version of the character will look.

And speaking of Jess, she's got a pin-up in Image's collection of Josh Howard's Dead@17 out in comic shoppes today. Brother Grant has one in there too.

Jesse James vs. What the Heck is That?!

Greg Jolly's got some more concept sketches up from Jesse James vs. Machine Gun Kelly. Does that guy have a skull head? Why, yes he does!

Harry Houdini: Super Spy

I'm going to try to get caught up from taking Monday as a blogging holiday (and some of Friday too come to think of it), so there'll be extra posting tonight. First up, a couple of miscellaneous items.

Hard Case Crime T-shirts

World of Strange apparel is offering T-shirts featuring the covers to Hard Case Crime novels. Now if we could only get some posters too...

The Secret Life of Houdini

I don't know if it'll be as cool as Houdini fighting a killer robot, but Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull writer Jeff Nathanson is working on an adaptation of Larry Sloman's controversial Houdini biography (which implied that Houdini was actually a British spy). Nathanson describes his version of the magician as a cross between Indiana Jones and Sherlock Holmes, which - mixed with The Prestige - sounds like a winning combination to me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Anne of the Indies (1951)

I’d never heard of this one until TiVo discovered it for me. It’s not available on DVD right now, but I wish it was because I’d love to have a copy. It’s now one of my favorite pirate movies ever. Then again, it’s pretty much designed to be.

It’s about Captain Anne Providence, fictional protégé of Blackbeard and a particularly nasty cutthroat. They hooked me with “lady captain” and reeled me in with my favorite historical pirate. Putting Debra (The Ten Commandments, Seven Angry Men) Paget in it guts, cleans me, and puts me on the grill. Sorry. I took the fishing analogy too far, didn’t I? (I should say that Paget doesn’t play Captain Providence, by the way. Hers is a supporting role, but holy rum is she beautiful.)

I can’t say much about the plot without spoiling it. It’s full of suspicions and motivations that aren’t clear until they are. Anne (Jean Peters from Niagara) hates the English who killed her brother for piracy, so the movie opens with her taking an English ship and making the crew walk the plank. Against the advice of her first mate, she spares the life of a Frenchman named LaRochelle (Louis Jourdan from Octopussy) who was a prisoner of the English. LaRochelle joins the crew and the rest of the movie covers Anne’s relationship with him and whether or not he’s trustworthy.

At first, I assumed that LaRochelle would quickly tame Anne and the film would end with their getting married and retiring from the pirates’ life. I was way off. It’s a much deeper story than that. Though there’s plenty of sword-fighting and cannon-fire, it’s really a character study of Anne. There’s no last-minute change into a more acceptable, “feminine” heroine. It's a dark film; full of moral ambiguity and without any clearly defined good or bad guys. It's Pirate Noir!

I’m aching to say more, but I’ll resist. It’s a movie that deserves to be seen without preconceptions. If you're interested, Fox Movie Channel's showing it again on June 18th.

Five out of five pirate queens.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Music Meme: 1992

Continuing my list of favorite albums from every year I've been alive.


The Cure: Wish

Oh wow, what a terrible year for music. This is far from my favorite Cure album and I don't even have any runners up from the other albums released that year. I think the only other album I bought in '92 was Erasure's greatest hits and that was disappointing too. Sad.

Still, Wish became kind of a theme song for my girlfriend (now my wife) and I thanks to the line "Thursday I don't care about you." Thursday was (and still is) my night to hang out with the fellas. And because of our work schedules, Diane and I would usually end up meeting for dinner at Perkins at about 10:00 pm, so it was "such a gorgeous sight to see you eat in the middle of the night." And Friday of course was always a date night for us, so "Friday I'm in love." And really, I do love the song.

Barenaked Ladies: "If I Had $1,000,000"
Ministry: "Jesus Built My Hotrod"
Lemonheads: "Mrs. Robinson"
Stereo MCs: "Connected"
"Weird Al" Yankovic: "Smells Like Nirvana
"Weird Al" Yankovic: "Taco Grande"

Saturday, May 23, 2009

10 Favorite TV Characters

As before, Siskoid gets the credit for this. I sort of don't want this meme to end, so if he's up for other Favorite Character lists, I sure am too. It sounds like he might be moving on though (Create Your Own Black Ops Team? Do it, Siskoid! Do it!).

I tried making my own rules for this list too, but I kept breaking them. I wanted to include mainly characters whose series have ended so that I can say with certainty that I liked the character from beginning to end. But that would've left out some of my very favorites and I dumped the rule.

I also wanted to choose only characters from shows that I stuck with to the very end. My rationale is that if I loved the character so much, that ought to be enough to keep me interested in the show. But though I have stuck with shows much longer than I should have for love of a single character, there have also been times that the series' overall plot got the better of me and I couldn't take it anymore.

That's enough preamble. I've got more to say about characters and the effect they have on my enjoyment of shows, but I'll save that for below. I will note though that this time I've actually listed these in order of my favorites, from least to most.

10. Jamie Sommers (The Bionic Woman, 1976)

She's bottom of the list because it's been thirty-plus years since I've seen the show and I have no idea if I'd still like her as much. But she makes the list for being the first TV character that I actually cared deeply about. Not just because of a childhood crush - which I did have - but because she was such a tragic character.

If you don't know the original Bionic Woman, she started off as the girlfriend of Steve "the Six Million Dollar Man" Austin, but was injured in an accident that not only necessitated her bionic implants, but also took her memories, including her knowledge of her relationship with Steve. Her memory loss was harder on him than it was on her, but Lyndsay Wagner played Jamie Sommers with such sadness that I always got the sense she knew she was missing something. If only she could remember Steve, she could be happy again. My ten-year-old heart broke for her.

9. Jayne Cobb (Firefly)

You have to love the simplicity of a guy like Jayne who's so damn honest about his motivations. Plus, he named his gun Vera. Plus, there's that song...

8. Jack Bristow (Alias)

Another character with clear motivations. Jack Bristow will do anything to protect his daughter. Anything. It's the same single-minded determination I love about Jack Bauer from 24, only Bristow's daughter is infinitely smarter than Bauer's. His show was a lot better written too.

Anyway, there's just something awesome about a man who will stop at absolutely nothing to achieve his goal when his goal is admirable. And I don't know much that's more admirable than continuing to protect a daughter who more or less hates your guts for it.

7. The Doctor (Doctor Who)

I think I might be cheating a bit by listing all the Doctor's generations in a single entry. After all, I like some of them better than others, and some of them I've never even seen. But I really don't want to have to pick between Four and Ten, nor do I want to eat up two entries listing them separately. Nor do I want to leave out Three, Five, and Nine, whom I also like a lot.

Besides, one of the things I really love about the Doctor is the versatility of the character. It's amazing that so many different actors can interpret the same character so many different ways while still being so convincing that this is in fact the same guy. There's no one else like him in any media.

And I promise I hadn't looked at Siskoid's list before deciding to include all ten (or that specific collage) in mine.

6. Sherry Palmer (24)

Bar none, the greatest villain in the history of television. I spent the first half of 24's first season thinking that I loathed the selfish, manipulative Sherry Palmer until I realized how much I absolutely reveled in hating her. Arvin Sloane from Alias comes a close second in being this despicable, but he has a couple of redeeming qualities that Sherry didn't. I miss you, Sherry!

5. Dr. Charlotte King (Private Practice)

This year's season finale of Private Practice seemed like it was doing it's best to make me stop caring about the show. Addison Montgomery's flirtation with adultery is killing my interest in her. Dell's storyline this season came out of nowhere and is pretty unconvincing. The cliffhanger left one of the other characters not just in mortal danger, but threatened with the most emotionally excruciating death I can imagine. That she's also a character I don't like leaves me feeling conflicted and icky. Do I care that she could die this way? Not really. But boy do I ever feel like I should care, and I sort of hate myself for not.

What does any of this have to do with Charlotte King? She's the reason I'll be back next season.

I do this a lot. Faced with a show that I used to enjoy, but aren't anymore, I'll latch on to one or two characters I love and make them the focus of the series in my head. And I'm a total sucker for unlikable characters who are revealed to have hidden depths of redeeming qualities. Sawyer from Lost, Alex Karev from Grey's Anatomy, maybe House one day if he ever gets his act together. I love shows that are successful in making you hate someone and then even more successful in turning that hate to love.

Charlotte King tries so hard to be a hard-nosed, emotionless robot. It's what she thinks she needs to be to do her job. For all I know, it is what she needs to be to do her job. But the very fact that she's trying so hard at it reveals that she actually cares. I'm loving watching those walls she's built around her come down. As long as that development continues for her on the show, I'll keep watching it regardless of what nonsense everyone else is going through.

4. Patrick Jane (The Mentalist)

I'm not sure I should include a character on this list whose show is only one season long so far, but I can't help it. I thought that this show was going to be a Psych rip-off and it's so not. I love every character on it, but especially the infuriatingly smirky, know-it-all and above-it-all (yet deeply wounded) Patrick Jane. Give this show a few more seasons like the one it just had and he'll be the top entry on this list.

3. Worf (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)

Do you want to know how much I like Worf? I went to a Star Trek convention to meet Michael Dorn, the actor who plays him. That's crazy.

But Worf's story arc on Next Generation and then Deep Space Nine was intensely appealing to me. He's the outsider who manages to fit in without sacrificing who he is to do it. And he kicks booty. And he gets all the best lines ("Captain, I protest! I am not a merry man!"). And he ends up with the hottest women on whatever show he's on. Just saying.

2. Dr. Miranda Bailey (Grey's Anatomy)

Oh, how I love Miranda Bailey. On a show full of drama kings and queens, she manages to stay above it all. Most of the time. Occasionally though, something will get to her and she'll lose it and cry. That's when I always have to grunt and pretend there's something in my eye.

1. Noel Crane (Felicity)

Noel Crane (or "Dreamy Noel" as we call him around Casa del May) was me during college. Oh sure, he's not as good-looking as I am, but I so relate to his luck with dating. It's not that Noel can't get dates, but just that they're rarely with the girl he wants to be on them with.

College was a great time for me and Felicity helped me relive it shortly after I was out, just when I was missing it most. I accessed the show through Noel, so that makes him an important character in my life. I miss that show like crazy.

Not surprisingly, Noel made me a huge Scott Foley fan. I think my wife's a bit jealous of him. "You'll follow that man anywhere," she says, and she's right. I even watched every single episode of AUSA. That's devotion, baby.

Did my heart good to see him on Siskoid's list as Bob from The Unit.

Quotes of the Week: Stories Are Built to End

I am forced to admit, painful as it is, that now, this show has given up on me. "Sorry!" it calls out jauntily, sailing off into its own oceans of complexity as I stand on the dock, helpless ... If more shows had end dates; if more shows could count on a life of a fixed length on television followed by a longer life on DVD where everyone can afford to be a completist, maybe we'd get better shows. Imagine the world we might find ourselves in if more creators were willing to say, "If you've been dating us on and off for five years and haven't married us yet, then we're dumping you, how about that?"
--NPR's Linda Holmes, on how the inaccessibility of this last season of Lost isn't a bad thing.

But what superhero comic books, soap operas, serialized dramas and even some sitcoms have in common is a refusal to acknowledge that stories are built to end ... And that's dangerous, because characters, like consumer electronics, have a planned obsolescence. They exist to grow and change; when they stop changing, the story's supposed to end.
--NPR's Glen Weldon, saying what we all know to be true, but don't like to acknowledge.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Comics Trailer: The Nobody

I think I've mentioned this before, but it's especially true after seeing the trailer. I cannot wait for Jeff Lemire's spin on The Invisible Man.

Adventueblog Gallery: Man vs Monster

Your Marvel Classics Comics Cover of the Day

By Gene Colan.


By Joe Koberstein.

Your 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Picture of the Day

By Alphonse de Neuville.

The Merman

By Charles Schneeman.


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